It's time to pin down a thesis statement. I've spent so much time researching all these different avenues I can potentially venture down, but when it comes down to it, I only have one show and one point to make. I've narrowed it down to a few things:
1. A study of words across language barriers. This option will be a bit more didactic than the others. It will highlight interesting words that don't exist across cultural barriers, and bring them to life with illustrations that suggest the word's meaning.
2. A study of American-English words that don't exist in other languages. This option might be a bit more appropriate for my venue... as everyone who will be coming to the show will speak English. Foreign words are interesting, but what if I called out a bunch of common English words and told viewers that those words don't exist in other languages? This option would be more striking for my particular target audience, I think.
3. Inventing new words in English that would change our culture. For this option, I would first make the argument that language changes the way we think. (Because we have a word for something, we're more apt to rationalize a concept using that word, or derivatives of that word.) I would invent a series of words that don't currently exist in English, and propose them as new additions to our vocabulary. For example, what if English had a word for making a career out of the work you do while you procrastinate? It's not work, it's not play, it's not passion. We wouldn't say "go out and get a job," we'd say "go out and get a ____."
I've got a lot to think about in the upcoming week! I need to narrow down a thesis and start thinking about how I might execute it!